Sharing the Road With Farm Equipment
Passenger vehicles and large, slow-moving farm equipment and vehicles often share Washington County roads, most commonly in the rural areas. It is important for the safety of all travelers to be cautious when either driving near or operating this equipment.
In 2017 there were 42 crashes statewide involving farm equipment, resulting in one fatality and 32 non-fatal injuries, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation. By comparison, in 2013, there were 26 crashes involving farm equipment, with no fatalities and 11 non-fatal injuries.
Slow down: A car traveling at 55 mph can close a 300-foot gap (the length of a football field) and overtake a tractor traveling at 15 mph in about 5 seconds. Slow down as soon as you see a farm vehicle to avoid a collision.
Pass with caution: The most common farm-vehicle crashes happen when it is turning left and a vehicle attempts to pass at the same time.
- Farm equipment operators often pull to the right to line up with a gate or driveway on the left. Drivers sometimes mistakenly think the farmer is pulling over to let them pass. Look for gates, driveways or access roads on the left that may indicate a left turn.
- You can pass farm equipment, even in a no-passing zone, if the lane is clear of oncoming traffic. However, farm equipment is often wider than it looks from behind. Make sure there is enough space in both lanes to pass safely.
Farm equipment operators
Sign required: Under Oregon law, farm machinery and equipment traveling at 25 mph or less must have a slow-moving vehicle sign (SMV) on the back when operating on public roads. This is a triangular sign with a red-reflective border and fluorescent orange center.
Some farm vehicles also have flashing yellow lights. However, lights do not replace a slow-moving vehicle sign.
Move off the road: If your farm equipment is causing traffic delays, move off the road at the safest, most practical location so traffic can pass.
For more information, visit Oregon Farm Bureau Rural Road Safety